Cortina d'Ampezzo – The Italian community is best known for skiing. The Italian holiday resort is a paradise not only for snow sports enthusiasts, but also for climbers. Steep walls offer countless routes of all levels of difficulty. The choice is immense and the ascents are short. AND: Even on days off or after work, the picturesque village makes hearts beat faster.

A contribution by Anina Müller

In June 2009, the Dolomites recognized by UNESCO as a natural world heritage site. The area around Cortina is one of the most beautiful places in the world. When the sun rises and sets, the dolomite walls turn pink due to the sunlight. At the latest after this sight it is clear why people often speak of Alpenglühen.

The spectacular walls of dolomite rock offer over a thousand classic and modern routes. Various climbing gardens with different characteristics ensure that every climber gets their money's worth.

Cortina D'Ampezzo: Over 1000 climbing routes

The dolomite is a sedimentary rock riddled with holes, pincers and ledges. There are more than a thousand climbing routes around Cortina. The ascents are usually very short, since a train goes almost everywhere. The best thing to do is leaf through the climbing guide Falesie a Cortina d'Ampezzo for an evening. The panorama is impressive everywhere, but especially on the Five Towers, the most famous climbing garden in the region.

Climbing Guide Cortina
The climbing paradise of Cortina d'Ampezzo offers over 1000 routes in the typical dolomite rock. Image: Anina Mueller.

The five towers offer more than 200 secured rope lengths. The levels of difficulty range between 3a and 8b. In the summer, the north-facing routes are nice and cool, while the south-facing routes are perfect for climbing on sunny days in winter. The five impressive towers can be reached in a few minutes from the chairlift station at the Rifugio Scioattoli mountain hut.

The south wall of Tofana di Rozes is one of the most beautiful walls in the region. The routes on the Tofana are rather sparsely secured, friends and wedges are a must here. The Primo Spigolo is particularly recommended. If you are worried about finding a route, you can book a mountain guide with the mountaineering schools Bergführer Cortina360 or the mountain guide group Cortina d'Ampezzo. 

The author Anina Müller enjoys the Dolomite rock in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Picture:

If you don't have alpine experience for multi-rope or sport climbing tours, the via ferratas in Cortina are the perfect option for all mountain lovers. Thanks to the many steel cables, stairs and ladders, sure-footed hikers and mountaineers can move through the countless towers and rock faces. The easier Via Ferrata Averau or the Via Ferrata Giovanni Barbara are recommended. With 15 meters of via ferrata, Cortina certainly won't be boring. 

Rainy and rest days in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Should a day of vacation literally fall into the water, Cortina offers a wide range of alternatives to rock climbing.

Tip: To get an up-to-date weather report, it is best to go to the ARPAV – Meteo Dolomiti weather report website. This weather info is updated every six hours. 

If your arms and fingers don't need a break from climbing, the Lino Lacedelli climbing hall invites you to train. With more than 80 indoor routes, from 3b to 8b+, it won't be boring. The hall includes an area with long and difficult lead routes as well as easy short toprope routes.

climbing hall-cortina
The place to go for bad weather days: the Lino Lacedelli climbing hall. Picture: Cortina360°

Just let your mind wander

Wellness lovers can relax in the highest sauna in the Dolomites. The sauna is located at the "Rifugio Lagazuoi" mountain hut and is known for its unique view of the peaks of the Dolomites.

You also have a wonderful view from the hot tub at Rifugio Scoiattoli. The spruce tub is outdoors and the water is heated with a wood stove. 

Pure culinary delights

Italian and Austrian cuisine come together in Cortina. The village center is full of restaurants, pizzerias, bars and cafes. 

Those who prefer something more elegant are in the right place at the La Corte del Lampone restaurant. With the candlelight, the wood and stone furnishings and the beautiful preparation of the food, the chic restaurant succeeds in making you feel at home straight away. In addition, La Corte del Lampone is known for its fine wine cellar.

The La Corte del Lampone restaurant offers delicious food in a sophisticated atmosphere. Image: Anina Mueller

The Pizzeria Il Ponte is also located in the center of Cortina. The restaurant is open all year round and is divided into three large dining rooms. A specialty of the pizzeria is the soy dough, the recipe for which is only known to the owners Luisella and Massimiliano. 

Pizza at it's best: The Pizzeria Il Ponte in downtown Cortina. Image: Anina Mueller

You can find more good pizzas in the Pizzeria Cinque Torri. In addition to more than fifty pizza variants made of crispy dough, you will find soup, antipasti and salads here.

There are over 50 different pizzas in the Pizzeria Cinque Torri. Picture Anina Mueller.

The mountain hut Rifugio Scoiattoli is right next to the Cinque Torri. The panorama on these walls is breathtaking and the kitchen offers, among other things, traditional dishes. A specialty is pasta flavored with blueberries.

Great place to stay and starting point for excursions to the Cinque Torri: the Rifugio Scoiattoli mountain hut. Image: Zvg

Camping, mountain hut or hotel

Cortina has countless campsites that can be used as base camps for day trips. For example Camping Rocchetta. The campsite is right on a river and has a hot tub to relax in after a hard day.

The  The three-star Hotel Serena has 52 rooms and is located very close to the center of Cortina. In summer you can end the evening in the hotel garden or explore the village center, which can be reached on foot in five minutes.

In addition to hotels and campsites, in Cortina you can stay in one of the many bed and breakfasts or in a mountain hut. In the case of the mountain huts in particular, it is important to reserve them in advance. The e-mail addresses and telephone numbers can be found on the website.

4 reasons why you should spend your next climbing holiday in Cortina

  • The journey from Switzerland is relatively short 
  • The steep walls around Cortina offer over a thousand routes of all levels of difficulty
  • The ascents are short and the panorama absolutely idyllic
  • The food is incredibly good

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Credits: Cover image Zvg